Our greatest challenge…Staying Awake!

Dear family of God;

May the peace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Allow me to submit to you that one of our greatest challenges is to stay awake. Spiritually awake.

1 Thessalonians 5:2,5 – …you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night…you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

For some, waiting on the Lord and being vigilant is a vivid daily reality. Such as those who live in a dangerous country, especially where being a Christian is synonymous to living with the fear imprisonment or death. Or the very poor, who wakes up not knowing whether he will have something to eat that day. Or the chronically sick, whose disabilities are the constant struggles of their lives.

But for many, like many of us in “developed” countries like the USA, or the many of us who never have to worry about whether we will have something to eat, waiting on the Lord and being vigilant amount to little more than fighting our daily, personal desires of the flesh. And outside of our personal fight against sin – which we discussed previously – all is smooth sailing, every day. There is no danger of imprisonment, our churches are generally fine, modern Christian concerts from popular bands are typically sold out, and we are not persecuted simply for wearing a Christian T-shirt or a cross. Eating today is a non-issue: Should we eat organic or out…that is our challenge! Looks like we got the good deal…or did we?

We are like the guard of a castle where no threat ever occurs. Every day is the same, smooth and quiet. Staying awake IS one of our greatest challenges. Just staying awake. Our faith might be rotting away and we are completely unaware of it…we are slumbering, we are falling asleep. Our church is in cruise control, our favorite morning songs and radio casts are always at hand. But unaware to us, for we are asleep, our burning love and zeal for God, for our Lord Jesus, and for His Kingdom is surely becoming a thing of the past. Every day is the same, and it looks like it will always be like that.

But occasionally, here and there a tragedy will take place…a tragedy that reminds us there are more important things in life than what we have been focusing on. And we will jump from our sleep as if awaken with a bucket of water. But soon, very soon, our heavy eyelids will bring us right back to sleep.

My friends. We, you and me living in a country like this one, or with enough means to eat every day, or with generally good health, are the Christians who are the most in danger, those of us who have a life that looks much better than most. We are the ones in danger of being caught off-guard when the Master comes. But here is the advice from the Apostle:

1 Thessalonians 5:8,9 – But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have not been appointed by God to experience His wrath…so…let us not be found asleep, but sober…by making sure our faith is strong and genuine, our love is active and fervent, and our hope is alive!

May the Lord be with you;

In the name above all names, Jesus our Lord.

Amen.

Six dangers to your spiritual life (part 6 of 6)

Danger 6: Comfort. Ahhh comfort! What could possibly be wrong with comfort!? Click here for part 5

Are you going to a specific church simply because that is where you are comfortable? Now, it is evidently natural for us to expect our place of worship to be comfortable as well. But what if comfort is our prime motivation for staying in or leaving the place we are? One could feel comfortable because that is where he or she was raised (see part 5). But there are many other possible reasons for this comfort: “My friends go to this church”, “this is a White people church”, “…a Black church”, “…a Hispanic church”, “…an Asian church”, “They do not bother me here…”, etc. are all possible reasons for that comfort. Oh, and how about “I am a Baptist…”, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist”, “I am a Catholic”…and my favorite of all…”We are a non-denominational church” (never mind that they do have a name, which sometime is even fancier than the others!)?

The fact of the matter is that comfort may come at a very significant price! Because, as God puts it in 1 Thessalonians Himself, we should “test all things”, otherwise, we may hold to that which is bad…and that is pretty bad!

1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21 – Despise not prophesyings. Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.
We are to test everything. And the most important thing we can and should test is what we are being taught. Our teaching does not end when our pastor closes his sermon. NO! Our teaching ends after “we” have personally tested, or examined what we have been taught to the point of concluding whether it was good! And granted, that could take some time. But when was the last time you examined your pastor’s teaching? That the act of testing is mentioned here in the immediate context of prophecies speaks volume of its importance when it comes to what we are taught. Comfort should not undermine our ability to test everything.

There are many traps laid before those who seek to grow spiritually. This series highlighted only six of them. But those six are very subtle. And in many of them, our very churches are deeply involved in their effectiveness. The secret is knowledge, unfiltered knowledge. We need to be taught accurately, and it is actually up to us – and not so much the churches – to make sure that this happens. 

2 Timothy 2:15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
There is a reason God gave us His Spirit. Thanks to it, no matter the trap the adversary may lay before us, we have the ability to live up to God’s expectation, as He expresses it in 2 Timothy 2:15. Take control of your spiritual growth, and be what God called you to be.